Get Your Florida Rap Sheet and Certificate of Eligibility
Request for Criminal Histories
Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Seal & Expunge Process Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Instructions for Applying for a Certificate of Eligibility Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Reasons for Denial of Certificate of Eligibility Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Free Do-It-Yourself Guides & Instructions
FAQ’s on Sealing & Expunging Criminal History Records in Florida Miami Public Defender
Sealing or Expunging a Criminal Record State Attorney’s Office for the Fourth Judicial Circuit
How to Apply to Have Your Record Sealed or Expunged Miami – Dade State Attorney’s Office (2008)
How to Seal Criminal Records in Florida eHow Article
How to File an Expungement in Florida eHow Article
How to Expunge Your Record in Florida eHow Article
How to Expunge a Felony Charge in Florida eHow Article
What Rights Do Convicted Felons Lose In Florida? eHow Article
State Statutes & Rules of Criminal Procedure
Free County Forms & Instructions
Florida Expungement & Sealing of Criminal Records in a Nutshell
Expungements and sealing of criminal records are generally limited to cases that do not include conviction, or in certain instances, where judgment was withheld. Sealing is ultimately available for most charges that ended with a withheld judgment or when you were found not guilty after trial.
If you were arrested but not charged or your case was dismissed, and you have no prior criminal record, you may qualify for expungement. Certain felonies are exceptions.
Most juvenile cases are automatically expunged over a given period of time.
When a record is expunged, it is physically destroyed and cannot be accessed. Expunged records are only revealed in court or other specific instances. Florida expungement laws work best for and are made to benefit those whose charges were dropped or dismissed.
The request for expungement may be made by petition or order to the arresting court. Presence in court is not required. Once the judge receives your petition, he or she makes the decision to have your criminal records sealed or expunged. The order is then sent to the arresting agency, including all criminal justice agencies involved in the arrest and any other agencies that may have criminal records related to the expunged case.
The entire process can take up to six months.
Florida requires that you first obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. With this certificate, you can then petition the court for an order to seal or expunge your record. There is a 12-month expiration date for certificates. If the date issued on your certificate is more than 12 months old when you file a petition with the court, the certificate is invalid and you must re-apply and qualify for a new certificate.
Other reasons for denial include:
- You have been convicted of a criminal offense.
- You have received a prior sealing or expunction of a criminal history record.
- The application relates to a violation of one of the criminal offenses that is not eligible for sealing/expunging.
- Your sentence is not yet completed, including any term of supervision or probation.
- Another petition for sealing or expunging exists.
Other Free Resources
Operation New Hope, founded in 1999, helps ex-offenders rebuild their lives and connect to meaningful employment. The program accepts non-violent offenders who have been released within two years. Its signature Ready 4 Work program offers a four-pronged approach: case management, life-coaching, job training and job placement assistance.
The Pinellas County Ex-Offender Coalition(PERC) was established to assist ex-offenders in their efforts to successfully re-enter society and to be a resource for those wishing to help. While primarily supporting Pinellas County, they also provide information on services available through out the state, and some resources across the country.
Jacksonville Area Legal Aid’s Prisoner Re-entry Program provides services to low-income and often unemployed Duval County residents who have criminal records. It serves clients with all types of criminal backgrounds from simple arrests and misdemeanors to multiple felony convictions. The Prisoner Re-entry Program can offer legal assistance with sealing/expunging of criminal records, restoration of civil rights, employment and educational opportunities for ex-offenders, child support issues related to incarceration, drivers license reinstatement, obtaining public benefits, and access to housing.
Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration: Background Screening Application for Exemption
Persons disqualified from employment may be granted an exemption from disqualification. The granting of an exemption does not change an individual’s criminal history. It only provides eligibility for employment in a health care setting.
The mission of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition is to have Florida join the 40 states in the nation that automatically restore the civil rights of all individuals with past felony convictions upon completion of non-monetary terms of their sentences.
Florida Legal Services is a nonprofit organization founded in 1973 to provide civil legal assistance to indigent persons who would not otherwise have the means to obtain a lawyer.
The Miami Workers Center initiates and supports grassroots projects, known as Grassroots Councils, that are led by the people most affected by the social issues of our time: poverty, racism, and gender oppression.
Brevard County Legal Aid provides free legal services to indigent persons in Brevard County, Florida.
Ex-Felon Voting Rights in Florida: Revised Rules of Executive Clemency That Automatically Restore Civil Rights to Level-1 Offenders Is the Right Policy Florida Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights (2008)